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WT: Redskins in no hurry to fix D-line


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Redskins in no hurry to fix D-line

By Jody Foldesy

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20030818-125055-2702r.htm

The Washington Redskins remained calm about market possibilities yesterday as an MRI confirmed that nose tackle Brandon Noble would be out for at least a year with a shredded knee.

Club officials showed little urgency to acquire a new defensive tackle, saying the solid effort provided by other interior players in Saturday's 20-13 loss to New England means, at least in the short term, replacements aren't absolutely necessary.

Noble's MRI revealed three torn knee ligaments — the ACL, MCL and PCL — as well as a dislocated knee cap. He acknowledged that his rehab would take at least a year and that his career could be over.

"I'm looking at July of next year," Noble said. "It's going to be a long, long road back — if it is even done. So we'll see. It will be interesting."

The injury came on the Patriots' second series. Noble wasn't hit, but as the play unfolded his left leg ended up bearing the weight of nearly three players.

"[Teammate] Bruce [smith] was pinching and I was locked onto the guard," Noble said. "The tackle and Bruce hit the guard in the back, and all my weight was on my left leg. It just buckled."

The team remains interested in obtaining at least one more tackle, but not at Noble's nose tackle position. The other starter, called the "three-technique" tackle, plays on the outside edge of the guard and is more responsible for pass-rushing. Washington continues its search for such a player.

One possibility remains Denver's Lional Dalton, who fell out of favor with the Broncos last year after signing a big contract in the offseason. But the Redskins aren't enamored with Dalton and don't appear prepared to part with much to obtain him. Dalton will be released if the Broncos can't trade him and the Redskins probably would try to sign him for the minimum.

Other possibilities remain somewhat uncertain at this point, though teams will begin to advertise available players this week and next as they move toward cuts for the 53-man roster.

Redskins officials are more confident they can find a starting nose tackle among their current players. The top choices appear to be Jermaine Haley, who has been playing the three-technique since Dan Wilkinson was cut, and Del Cowsette, who subbed for Noble Saturday night and appeared to hold up fairly well.

Some in the organization viewed Haley's better position as the nose tackle when he signed this offseason. Cowsette, a Redskins seventh-round pick out of Maryland in 2000, has battled a wrist injury the past two years and could be at full-strength this season. It is uncertain he can stick in the NFL.

"I'm hoping to play now that I'm healthy," Cowsette said. "If I have the opportunity I think I can make things happen."

For now, Washington will rotate its tackles and see who plays best. Newly signed James Cannida and Bernard Holsey are two natural three-technique tackles who will get a chance to see whether they can play the nose.

Cannida, in fact, wasn't asked to play nose until Saturday's game. He was pleased with how he held up at both spots, considering he is still getting into game shape and learning the defense.

"For the most part I think I did pretty well," Cannida said. "I could definitely tell the conditioning [was lacking]. Missing those first two weeks of camp played a big part in how I was feeling last night. But I think with a little more time and another couple weeks of practice I should be fine."

Bernard Jackson was enjoying a solid preseason at the three-technique but suffered a high ankle sprain on Saturday and is likely to miss at least a month.

Meanwhile, Wilkinson agreed to a four-year deal with Detroit. He was never pursued after being cut by Washington; the team said the door was open for his return, but what it meant was Wilkinson would have to come crawling back through it.

Smith, for his part, expressed frustration late Saturday and said Wilkinson shouldn't have been cut. Smith added that Washington should sign "somebody who's comparable," because "we've got to stop this run or it's going to be a long year."

Noble's injury notwithstanding, the Redskins made progress against the Patriots after a disappointing debut at Carolina. On offense, running backs Trung Canidate and Kenny Watson performed well and quarterback Patrick Ramsey threw for 149 yards in a half. The defense did surrender 135 yards in the first quarter but just 114 yards the rest of the game.

In the game's key positional battle, punter Bryan Barker enjoyed a sharp effort and won the battle to stay over Brent Bartholomew. Barker pinned the Patriots inside the 15 twice and had a net average of 39.0 yards. Bartholomew admitted to being nervous, which caused him to kick four mediocre balls. The Redskins decided to waive him yesterday.

Notes — Agent Jack Reale met with owner Dan Snyder and other club officials over dinner last night to receive the team's opening contract proposal for cornerback Champ Bailey. ... Center Lennie Friedman appeared to outplay spot starter Wilbert Brown on Saturday. He could start while Larry Moore continues to recover this week. ... Right guard Randy Thomas sprained his ankle against the Patriots but expects to practice today. ... Running back Ladell Betts is expected to return to full-contact practice today.

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I am an out of towner fan, so it is hard to know about all the depth guys, so I don't know A LOT about Cowsette, but without trying to sound too much of an optimist homer, I must say that MY EYES saw the D-line play much better after Noble left the game. Maybe I was doing too much chatter with fellow CA Skins fans and not paying attention to EVERY SINGLE play, but the D-line seemed to improve after the initial two Patriots drives, and it was still the Patriots first team offense......Am I wrong here?

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The fact that our defensive line gelled when noble fell down is huge on many counts. First, it means our defensive line hasn't gone to sh!t. More importantly, I think it means that our front office doesn't feel like they NEED to go out and get that other tackle. This is good and bad. It means we are unlikely to overpay in some kind of desperation move to appease a groundswelling from the fans clamoring for newer bigger bodies. That is the good part. The bad news is we might not get anyone if dalton doesn't get released and we're not going to get jackson, because that would take a first or something else obscene. We don't need to make such a move.

With Big Daddy signed in detroit and smith signed in green bay, and a solid if unspectacular line performing in washington, we can wait for dalton to be cut. But he might not be....

That's how I read what's coming out of our front office anyway.

-DB

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Maybe it's just me, but this is a huge hit to the team in my book. The D line had a chance to be solid if the right person was found to replace BDW. Our players on the depth chart are there for a reason, there generally not starting quality players.

Hope the linebackers are ready for a lot of action this year.

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They don't want to appear desperate. So they play it cool and act as if the sky isn't really falling down. We need to make the deal for Dalton. His size alone will help out. But we don't need to show up on the Broncos doorstep on bended knee crying and blubbering for help.

Be it known! I am officially on the DEL COWSETTE bandwagon! Seats are open, but filling up fast! Hop on now!

~Bang

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I agree with Bang. Snyder is a businessman. Do you really think the front office is going to start blabbing to the media about how desperate we are for a DT? Can't you see that would only drive the price up even further?

Hopefully we'll take advantage of what little leverage we have. Green Bay and Detroit have both signed tackles, hopefully taking them out of the ever decreasing market. Therefore, if we don't seem too desperate, we should be able to play our cards as the only team seriously interested in a trade.

PLUS, this is from the WT which means Dalton AND Grady or Smith will probably be on the practice field tomorrow.

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Smith in this case is correct.

You don't cut starting players on your team without having a quality backup to fill the void. At least not if you are trying to win anything :)

The Skins had 4 months to think about Wilkinson's contract and the best way to have made him restructure for 2003 was to bring in a capable starting DT in free agency or in the draft.

Then we could have cut him as we did if he refused and not missed too much of a beat.

Bernard Jackson's ankle sprain only complicates matters on the DL as he looked to be the most ready of the younger players to step up and contribute in 2003.

Now being out 3-4 weeks he may be put on IR for the season.

Cowsette was drafted in round 6, not round 7 as the article mentions. He has hung around but has never make a mark even after bulking up to 295 from 267.

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sorry to hear about Noble, he is one heck of a guy. he made it all the way to this point in his career, by working hard and giving 110% and pure hustle and finally when it looked like he has it made, he gets injured. poor guy. great attitude and great locker room guy as well.

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Originally posted by bulldog

Smith in this case is correct.

You don't cut starting players on your team without having a quality backup to fill the void. At least not if you are trying to win anything :)

The Skins had 4 months to think about Wilkinson's contract and the best way to have made him restructure for 2003 was to bring in a capable starting DT in free agency or in the draft.

Then we could have cut him as we did if he refused and not missed too much of a beat.

Bernard Jackson's ankle sprain only complicates matters on the DL as he looked to be the most ready of the younger players to step up and contribute in 2003.

Now being out 3-4 weeks he may be put on IR for the season.

Cowsette was drafted in round 6, not round 7 as the article mentions. He has hung around but has never make a mark even after bulking up to 295 from 267.

He's correct (in my opinion), but he still ought to shut his pie hole. Its plain wrong for a vet of his stature to be running his mouth to the press openly questioning the decision-making of his bosses a) when he knows its not going to influence the ultimate outcome and B) when its clearly disrespectful to the organization paying his paycheck. I've always liked Bruce Smith on the field, but this is vintage stuff loose cannon stuff from him off the field.

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Unless things have changed in medicine since it happened to me, don't expect Noble back. I had a severe dislocation of my right knee cap, and tore my acl and pcl, also seperating, but not tearing my mcl. I had about 17 different surgeries, and now almost 10 years later, I'm able to walk with a cane.

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Originally posted by Tarhog

He's correct (in my opinion), but he still ought to shut his pie hole. Its plain wrong for a vet of his stature to be running his mouth to the press openly questioning the decision-making of his bosses a) when he knows its not going to influence the ultimate outcome and B) when its clearly disrespectful to the organization paying his paycheck. I've always liked Bruce Smith on the field, but this is vintage stuff loose cannon stuff from him off the field.

I have no problems with Bruce calling it like it is. Why should everyone pretend that the FO is always right when they obviously did not have a well thought out plan? Maybe if theyre called on their mistakes they'll learn and start making more intelligent decisions.

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Originally posted by Tom [Giants fan]

You guys play a team with a very good running back the first week. Fortunately, you will get a good look on exactly how much the Skins do or do not need additional DLine help.

That is if he is healthy. Martin has has some injury problems the last couple of years, he isn't like RW, LT, DM, those guys are on another level.

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The easiest thing in the world in any profession is to 'call it like it is'. But when you aren't getting paid to call the shots, you're out of line doing it publicly, and it serves no purpose. Its counter-productive and a distraction. I'm not going to get a nosebleed over it, this is a trivial issue to a certain extent. But I think having supposed team leaders spouting off at the mouth undercuts discipline (the same discipline a lot of you have been bemoaning is lacking) and doesn't help. And if its a precursor to him spouting off throughout the season, thats worse still.

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I agree with those who state Bruce should shut his mouth. He's not the GM, the Defensive Coordinator, nor the head coach. Why not just tow the company line and say that there are younger players who have the ability to step up and make a statement. Instead, he tells the rest of the league we have a black hole in the center of our DL and none of the reserves have the capability to fill it.

Cowsette was drafted in round 6, not round 7 as the article mentions. He has hung around but has never make a mark even after bulking up to 295 from 267.

That's just it. He was undersized his first year, but he remained in the league on a practice squad which means they saw something in him. His second year he injured his wrist really badly, but still played well enough in reserve to earn a roster spot. He also had more sacks than BDW last year. I like Cowsette, I like his nose for the football and his burst.

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Denver showed their hand when they started holding Dalton out of practice and Shanahan publicly said that he wouldn't be a Bronco anymore.

We're now holding the cards in our game of chicken with Denver. Dalton is gone either way; they know it and we know it.

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Surely Bruce has earned the right to grouse a little bit after all these years. Not to say that it's right for him to complain -- but we're not talking about Smoot or Rob Johnson or anybody else here. We're talking about one of the greatest Defensive Ends to ever play the game (I would argue second only to the Minister of Defense).

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Originally posted by Tom [Giants fan]

You guys play a team with a very good running back the first week. Fortunately, you will get a good look on exactly how much the Skins do or do not need additional DLine help.

Not from what I have been reading over at GangGreen.com Tom.

Some of them seem to be worried that the Jets ryshing attack isn't going to be ready to go come the start of the season.

Plus check this out from the New York Journal-Times:

http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/081803/c0818jets.html

Running out of time

By KIT STIER

THE JOURNAL NEWS

(Original publication: August 18, 2003)

There's good reason for Herman Edwards to be concerned about the state of the Jets' running game.

The Jets' coach knows that if the team can establish a proficient running game, it should enhance what promises to be a top-notch passing offense. If the Jets don't run well, their coach is painfully aware, their quest to reach the Super Bowl will be much more difficult because no strong offense is one-dimensional.

"We've got to get our running game going, we really do,'' Edwards said after the Jets rushed for 57 yards in a 22-17 exhibition loss to New Orleans at the Meadowlands Saturday. "We're running out of weeks, and we've got to get our runners running.''

The Jets had just 28 yards on the ground when their regular lineup was in the game in the first half. No. 1 back Curtis Martin, getting his first carries of the preseason, gained 5 yards on four attempts.

Edwards is trying to preserve Martin, who suffered through a 2002 season in which he was plagued by two painful ankle injuries.

What scares Edwards is that for the Jets, who reached the second round of the playoffs before Oakland eliminated them last season, the running game was a weak point in 2002 — they ranked 22nd in the league in rushing.

The Jets were a lowly 11th in the AFC last season, averaging 101.1 yards per game on the ground. They carried the ball 400 times, which ranked them third from the bottom in the AFC.

So the fact that the Jets have averaged just 2.3 yards per carry (193 yards on 84 tries) in three exhibition games has Edwards on edge.

"We have to establish that,'' Edwards said of the running game.

The Jets moved 79 yards on their only drive of the first quarter against the Saints, but gained 6 of those yards on the ground. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, LaMont Jordan was dropped for a 2-yard loss on the last play of the failed drive.

The Jets tried to run three times on their second drive. One carry was good for 7 yards, another was wiped out by a penalty and a yard was lost on the other.

Finally, on a 10-play scoring drive, the Jets carried three times for 15 yards.

Martin, held out of the first game because of the hard turf inside the Tokyo Dome, didn't carry the ball in the second exhibition.

"I don't think we are on top of our game right now,'' Martin said when asked about the Jets' running game. "Time will tell. As the preseason goes on, as camp goes on, I think you get a better feel for where you are at.''

Martin said it's difficult to get a flow going with the running game in the early exhibitions.

"I feel we could do a lot better in the running game, personally,'' Martin said. "I think the running game gets better with repetition. I think we would have done good in this game if we had been playing the whole game. If the first team was in the whole time, I think we would have done pretty well. But you don't know because it hasn't happened yet.''

When it does, Edwards will breathe easier.

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I think the Skins might be waiting for Dalton to get cut, if u take a look at his contract he's due quite a bit of money over the next few years.

Salary History

2002 525000.00

2003 1600000.00

2004 1800000.00

2005 3000000.00

2006 3000000.00

2007 3000000.00

2008 3000000.00

http://www.nflpa.org/members/playerProfile.asp?ID=26210

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